31 July 2022

Review: THE WHISPERING, Veronica Lando

Synopsis (publisher)

The whispering wild will take your child if you dare to look away ...

The stunning Aussie crime debut from the winner of the 2021 Banjo Prize for Fiction.

Callum Haffenden swore he'd never return to Granite Creek. But, thirty years after a life-shattering accident, he's thrust back into the clutches of Far North Queensland and a local legend he worked hard to forget.

When a man goes missing in the rainforest, the past begins to resurface, breathing new life into memories of previous tragedies - two girls lost, seventeen years apart. In a town where it's easiest to turn a blind eye, the guilt runs deep and everyone in Granite Creek has something to hide.

In his search for answers, Callum fights to keep his feet firmly on the trail as he battles the deafening call of the rainforest burrowing into his ears. After all, everyone knows that the worst things in the rainforest are those unseen.

My Take

There are plenty of mysteries for the reader to unwrap in this very recently published debut title.

Callum Haffenden is a journalist from Tasmania but that is not why he has returned to Granite Creek in the Far North Queensland rainforest. It is where he grew up, his mother a town doctor, and his father a policeman. Thirty years ago he left, taken south by an air ambulance and he swore never to return. But a man has gone missing at a dangerous place in the rainforest and Callum comes north to uncover the truth.

So we have the mystery of what happened to Callum thirty years before, who the girls were who have been lost in the forest seventeen years apart, who the latest missing person is, and why there is such antipathy between Callum and at least one of the town's residents.

Woven through the story is the rhyme which is meant to keep children out of the forest especially when the wind whistles through the boulders and the tree tops.

The mysteries keep you reading until the very end, and uncovering even more mysteries.

My rating: 4.5

About the author

Veronica Lando is an Australian crime author who won the 2021 Banjo Prize for her then-unpublished manuscript The Whispering.

As a child, she grew up above her parents' Melbourne bookstore, surrounded by other people's stories. Now, as an adult, she lives in Queensland and enjoys using the uniquely wild and sometimes dangerous landscapes of the far north to shape her writing.

In 2020, she placed in the Scarlet Stiletto awards and has since had short stories published in anthologies with both Sisters in Crime Australia and the Queensland Writers' Centre.

Veronica currently lives in Townsville with her husband and three children.

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